According to my very big dictionary mandatory means obligatory or compulsory, but in the area of health and social care it seems to have a slightly different definition. Let me explain. John wants to open a care home for the elderly. He finds a house with lots of rooms, arranges with the council and social services on what care he will provide, he meets all the standards for fire and care etc. He writes lots of policies and procedures and employs staff. Everything is great, residents come in, all is looking good. All of his staff have an induction which covers the policies and procedures, they have some training in first aid, health and safety and a little bit of fire safety and food hygiene (this is statutory not mandatory) John is the appointed first aider and fire marshal and health and safety rep for the company. Now in Johns business plan he does not offer any medical care, and will employ people with a level 2 qualification in health and social care. The policy on training states the training will be delivered as and when to meet client needs.
This all sounds good and is perfectly acceptable. But here’s the problem. John doers not need to give his staff any other training. Nothing about dementia care, communication, data protection, models of behaviour, administration of medication, person centered planning, disability awareness, nutrition and diet training, safety of vulnerable adults, report writing or anything. To me this is all mandatory training, but as John very cleverly did not mention anything specifically in his training policy so he does not have to deliver it. There are guidelines on what he should be providing, but this is not mandatory unless he states it in his policy.
Without the training clients are at risk of abuse and harm which is ultimately pretty bad for John’s care home. Staff feel unappreciated and have no loyalty to John or the clients.
Now I know things are tough right now and training budgets are the first to be cut. But there is a very strong argument for training. It supports personal development, it encourages safe working practices, it protects the vulnerable, it provides a more coherent staff team, this all leads to a good image in the industry, staff stating with you longer (which cuts the cost of ongoing training), better occupancy figures, which all results in more profit.
So if you are ever looking for residential care for any family member remember to ask about staff training model, if it is a bit vague, then staff probably wont have all the skills needed to provide a full and rounded care model. Look for specific training that will enhance the care given and show understanding of needs.